Homebuilders build homes but very often forget about their evolving brands.
What is a brand? It’s the feeling you get when you hear a name. Fulton Homes, proud to own, proud to build. What comes to mind? Kids, dogs, communities. Fulton Homes has branded itself consistently for twenty years with a combination of strong visuals, public service campaigns, public relations, videos, social media, traditional media and digital. Even during the depths of the recession, they were one of the only builders who continued to brand. And now they are leading the way with a robust digital effort and a plan to reach millennials.
And how do you constantly evolve as a brand? This is especially relevant as the homebuilding landscape is changing. According to Jim Belfiore, President of Belfiore Real Estate Consulting, millennials are a major force in the market as is the creation of over 60,000 jobs in the Phoenix market this year. Your brand needs to adjust so that it can maximize these opportunities. Here are three steps you can take to evolve your brand:
1. Who are your buyers? Create personas.
I realize this sounds fancy but instead of looking at what we used to call “target markets”, it is better to create these semi-fictional representations of your buyers.
Example: Millennial Maggie is a 32-year-old engineer working for Intel in Chandler. She is making $75,000 a year and is tired of spending $1,500 for her condo in downtown Chandler. She is newly married to her husband, Rick, who also works at intel as a supervisor and makes $110,000 per year. They are waiting five years to consider having children but have two dogs and no yard. They are looking for a hip but safe community close to work. They want an easy to maintain property close to restaurants and biking trails.
2. Speak to your personas in their language, emphasizing what’s important to them.
Using the above example, create messaging that appeals to Maggie, like this Fulton Homes rent vs buy ad.
Through our research, we determined social media as a great place to not only speak to Maggie, but also interact with her. Keep the messaging consistent among all the different media that are used. This even includes search terms like “ tax advantages to buying a home” or “What can I afford to buy”. She might look up this information on Google or may jump to YouTube for a video that captures her attention on the subject.
3. What media does the persona consume?
No matter who your persona is, Millennial Maggie or Empty Nestor Ned, you need to know their media preferences. There are many ways to come by this information. You can ask your builders- in online surveys or focus groups. There are also various companies like Scarborough Research, who sells custom studies. If you work with an advertising agency, they probably have it as an in-house tool and can give you the information at no cost to you.